“I can see my daughter not being on the poverty level that I’ve been through,” says Carmen Holassie. “This Opportunity Scholarship is working and will work.” Adds Adrienne Lynch: “any parent who has a child in this program can tell you they can see the difference in their children.”
So what will it take to save the program?
Virginia Walden Ford is president of D.C. Parents for School Choice. As a single mother years ago, she struggled to guide her own children through the District’s school system. Now she works to help other parents.
“We need President Obama to stand up and say we need to keep this program. This is not fair,” she says. “If the president of the United States stands up and says ‘let’s keep this program,’ it will be kept.”
Obama recognizes the importance of a good education. That’s why he sends his daughters to Sidwell Friends, a highly-regarded private school and the alma mater of fellow presidential daughter Chelsea Clinton. At least two of her classmates are there on D.C. Opportunity Scholarships -- and couldn’t afford to remain without the aid.
The scholarships cost federal taxpayers about $15 million, and don’t divert any funding from other students in D.C. public schools. Renewing the program should be a no-brainer.
Let’s hope federal policymakers act quickly -- and show they’ve learned their lesson.